According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food deserts are areas where a substantial number of residents live in poverty and have limited access to affordable and nutritious food options. With a strong background in dietetics and the drive to combat these deserts, Project Grantee, Lisa Andrews is three and half months into developing her project, People’s Pantry Cincy.
Lisa is a dietician, mother of two, wife and volunteer for the Freestore Foodbank. With her dietetic experience and her years of hospital work, she has seen the very real effects of malnutrition on this community. A lack of access to healthy foods contributes to higher levels of obesity and maladies like, diabetes and heart disease.
People’s Pantry Cincy will provide non-perishable food to individuals in need, from neighbor to neighbor. From up-cycled retired newspaper boxes, “Food Bots” will emerge. The hope is for these Food Bots to be dispersed, stocked and managed by local residents throughout ten different Cincinnati neighborhoods. People’s Pantry will be available for anyone to safely and conveniently take what they need. Lisa sees a bright future for this project—a People’s Pantry on every street corner.
It doesn't seem like this dream is far off. Lisa has secured all but two newspaper boxes needed, has already started the remodeling process and is in the process of securing the locations of the pantries. When asked what the best advice for someone pursuing a project is, she replied, "Show up. Sometimes all it takes is just showing up.” That’s how she found the newspaper boxes. When she mentioned the project at a community council meeting one night, someone from the Enquire was there and offered to donate the boxes for the Food Bots. Just like that, a huge obstacle for the project disappeared.
The People’s Pantry Cincy team are continuing to connect with communities and finalize the locations of the pantries. If you want to stay informed or get involved, Lisa put out a call for help, “It's time to get down and dirty! We need volunteers to help sand down our boxes to prep them for our artists!!” If you’re interested, click here to message People’s Pantry Cincy.
If this story inspired you to start your own project, APPLY! Applications are open for the fifth cycle of People’s Liberty $10,000 Project Grants. Read the grant guidelines here. Check out the important dates and the link to apply here. Applications close on Wednesday, 3.22, at 11:00AM. It’s time to do more for your city.